SEOEMS to purchase equipment to care for large people

Published 10:02 am Monday, August 17, 2009

Very obese people often suffer from a myriad of health ailments not as common in smaller people. Given their size, their health care often requires specialized equipment.

In an emergency, transporting them to a hospital can also be a problem, too. To that end, the Lawrence County Commission Thursday gave its blessing to the outfitting of bariatric ambulance to transport very large people.

An existing ambulance will be retrofitted with the necessary equipment.

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It will include a cot, a wenching system and a ramp at a cost of $8,265.

“We’ve had situations where we’ve had heavy patients, 500, 600, 700 pounds,” Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Service Executive Director Eric Kuhn said. “We need a cot that can handle these patients.”

Dave McDonald, field operations director for SEOEMS, said SEOEMS has gotten at least four such calls in the last couple of months.

McDonald said the issue is safety not only for the person in need of medical care but the medical personnel who must lift and move the large person.

The cost will be paid out of the SEOEMS’ vehicle replacement account for Lawrence County.

It will likely be kept at the SEOEMS station in South Point and dispatched when needed.